Author Topic: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library  (Read 5174 times)

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Offline kasbah

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The goal of the digikey-kicad-library library is to offer a collection of well defined parts that include assigned footprints. This meant to augment KiCad's default library and give users another choice in library paradigm (meaning that it is One Solution, not The Solution). It contains 1-to-1 symbol to footprint assignments to meet the needs of those who prefer that style. It does not currently include the idea of a one symbol to many footprints primarily because that defeats the purpose of having an orderable part number ready in the Bill of Materials.

https://github.com/digikey/digikey-kicad-library
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Offline homebrew

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 10:51:43 pm »
Well it certainly looks nice!

But to be honest I don't see much use in such a library if done as a community effort.
1) Even the KiCAD developers themselves are not able to MAINTAIN such a library. And this is a massive community ...
2) You have a lot of third party information in your library. I.e. all the URLs etc. What if they change the structure of their page? Practically most of the urls will resolve in 404s in the years to come if not properly maintained.
3) Footprints: Why would you know which pads I need? Do I want to do hand soldering? reflow? wave? What would you do with more complex footprints requiring special shapes in the solder-mask stencil (again depending on the exact personal process and materials used)?
4) What if I prefer Farnell, Mouser or RS-Online?

The approach is good but I think that in the end people have to do it themselves for their own purposes - with all the data held locally (i.e. local copies of all data sheets etc).
 

Offline kasbah

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2017, 01:17:56 am »
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1) Even the KiCAD developers themselves are not able to MAINTAIN such a library. And this is a massive community ...
Well looks like someone from Digi-Key is being paid to at least spend some time on it.

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2) You have a lot of third party information in your library. I.e. all the URLs etc. What if they change the structure of their page? Practically most of the urls will resolve in 404s in the years to come if not properly maintained.
The links are secondary though. The important bit is the linking of schematic symbols, footprints and manufacturer and retailer part numbers. Also, at least with it being public and on GitHub there's a chance someone else will notice the broken links first and fix them before you get to them.

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3) Footprints: Why would you know which pads I need? Do I want to do hand soldering? reflow? wave? What would you do with more complex footprints requiring special shapes in the solder-mask stencil (again depending on the exact personal process and materials used)?
"it is One Solution, not The Solution". I see it being especially useful for rapid development. Most of the time you can get away with one footprint for different soldering techniques and if you are just making a few it's definitely less of an issue.

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4) What if I prefer Farnell, Mouser or RS-Online?
Fork it and add the part numbers, the license allows you to do that and more. The MPNs are all in there and you could use something like my own browser extension to fill out the parts from that. I am also seriously toying with the idea of maintaining a fork with Farnell parts at least.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 01:20:36 am by kasbah »
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Offline homebrew

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2017, 07:20:50 am »
So yes, you are probably right - having something is better than having nothing.
But anyway - digikey has what ... like over a million of parts? So you can only care for a tiny fraction of the actual number of components available. And even then, who tracks all their status (i.e. active vs. discontinued)?

In the end what would be needed, would be a real part database. Management of library and footprint would even be secondary. The primary concern would be management of your part inventory combined with a solid interface to your suppliers. If done in an automated way also their stock and prices could be integrated via an API - so could be the procurement process.

But such a system is nowhere in sight for kicad :-(

If rapid prototyping is the desired outcome than I can happily live with KiCads own library. Hack a part here and there or just relable existing ones. For prototyping I probably don't care for specific types whatsoever. If I need some voltage regulator, I simply use an 7805 - don't care about the manufacturer or it's specific performance. I can just relabel the generic one provided in the library.
Then for ordering I would just do it manually ...
 
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Offline bombledmonk

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2017, 08:54:52 pm »
But anyway - digikey has what ... like over a million of parts? So you can only care for a tiny fraction of the actual number of components available. And even then, who tracks all their status (i.e. active vs. discontinued)?
 

Without getting into the silliness of CT, TR, and DKR, there's approximately 1,723,121 normally stocking DKPNs.  The intention is not to offer a complete library, just a library with a cross-section of useful parts that would benefit plenty of people.  There's no way to appease everyone (or probably even the majority), but if we can settle on something that might satisfy 50% of people playing with it that seems helpful. This is especially true with electro-mechanical components which tend to have less standardized footprints. 

Part status, links, and other meta data are updated every time the library is updated so if there's support for maintaining the library it's not a burden.  That brings up a good point, it's probably a good idea to add Part Status as a field for the symbols.

Interesting side note, from starting this project to launch time, more than a dozen parts went Obsolete or NRND.
 
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Offline hermit

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2017, 10:34:14 pm »
Interesting side note, from starting this project to launch time, more than a dozen parts went Obsolete or NRND.
You may consider leaving these in the library since some older folks, cough cough, have a few parts laying around that's as old as themselves.  Mainly a hobbyist thing for sure though but disk space is relatively cheap now days. ;)
 

Offline kasbah

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2017, 01:10:31 pm »
Interesting side note, from starting this project to launch time, more than a dozen parts went Obsolete or NRND.

Have you though about setting a goal to include all parts that are part of the Common Parts Library (CPL)? Once they go obsolete or NRND they should really be removed from the CPL as well (and pull-requests can be sent to the GitHub repo). It doesn't solve the problem completely but at least it makes it the problem of more people i.e. everyone that cares about the CPL rather than everyone that cares about the Digi-Key KiCad library. SnapEDA also already released a lot of KiCad foorprints for CPL parts.
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Offline bombledmonk

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2017, 04:47:57 pm »
Have you though about setting a goal to include all parts that are part of the Common Parts Library (CPL)? Once they go obsolete or NRND they should really be removed from the CPL as well (and pull-requests can be sent to the GitHub repo). It doesn't solve the problem completely but at least it makes it the problem of more people i.e. everyone that cares about the CPL rather than everyone that cares about the Digi-Key KiCad library. SnapEDA also already released a lot of KiCad foorprints for CPL parts.
That's a good idea.  Plenty of CPL parts should already be in there (minus passives for now), but it's been a while since we went through that list.  We'll mull that one over and see what makes sense.


You may consider leaving these in the library since some older folks, cough cough, have a few parts laying around that's as old as themselves.  Mainly a hobbyist thing for sure though but disk space is relatively cheap now days. ;)
I doubt we'll pull parts out of the library, at least not without a major revision change.  Space is cheap these days so unless there's performance issues in KiCad with loading libs, there's probably not a good reason to completely remove them.  Would it make sense to move obsolete stuff to a secondary library, folder or taxonomy?  Ideas are quite welcome.
 
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Offline whalphen

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2018, 02:32:16 am »
I've had a number of bad experiences using other people's footprints.  Wrong pinout, pin holes too small, pads too small, not exactly the same part, etc.  I found that I'm much better off creating my own.  After a couple years of doing my own, I now have a nice library of the parts I typically use, with dimensions that work well for me.  And -- best of all -- I can trust them.  It really doesn't take much effort to create a footprint, especially after you've done it a few times. I only use someone else's footprint if I've checked it closely first -- and that takes about the same amount of time as creating my own.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2018, 07:35:35 am »
I have had similar experiences, although something from Digikey I'd trust more than some random library found online.

The libraries that come with most EDAs are cluttered with hundreds of parts I'll never use. I generally ignore them all and create my own for most stuff.
 

Offline bombledmonk

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2018, 05:29:28 pm »
I have had similar experiences, although something from Digikey I'd trust more than some random library found online.

The libraries that come with most EDAs are cluttered with hundreds of parts I'll never use. I generally ignore them all and create my own for most stuff.

That's certainly the hope.  We're still working through some bugs in the libs (hence the alpha) so I wouldn't quite put a stamp of trust on it yet, but we'd definitely like to have some level of quality that people can put faith in.  The key, from my point of view, is that we aren't trying to have everything which would be quite hard to manage.  We are just trying to have a reasonable subset of parts people might actually want to use.  If we can make a quarter of the people who stumble across the library happy to some degree, I think that's still a win.

Offline rrinker

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2018, 08:33:34 pm »
 It's not so much that the shipping library should be super concise, what is a 'junk' part I'll never use is the primary part in someone else's design. It just needs to be relatively painless to gather the stuff you need into your own custom library. It sounds like v5 is going a long way to making this happen.
 

Offline apelly

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2018, 01:27:49 am »
I think this is quite generous, not too hard to provide, and fairly forward thinking.

I'd certainly be happy to find KiCAD footprints & symbols next to things I search on digikey. All the better if there's a link back from the schematic when it comes to order time. And manufacturers part number.

I'd prefer to import them one at a time as needed than grab the whole repo though.
I'd rather a Google clue, link, or some theory than "do this" (generally)
 

Offline evb149

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2018, 03:03:39 am »
It is great that they're doing this.

Though I can think of one variant on the approach that would be, potentially, even vastly better.

DigiKey is big enough and consequential enough that they alone could probably start a movement that could easily / quickly turn into a "landslide" of support.  I imagine it would not be too hard for them to get a couple of big IC vendors on board to support it also which would pretty much guarantee success.

1: Define some standard schema / metadata for component properties, e.g. XML schema, SQL, something along those lines.  At a minimum put in all the majorly used part categories and attributes, e.g. Capacitor: Dielectric = Class 1, Class2, C0G, NP0, X5R, X7R, voltage rating, capacitance, SRF, etc.  Resistor: Resistance, power rating.   JEDEC package size code etc.  IC: Supply voltage range, etc. All the basic things you'd put in a CAD library metadata for the most common kinds of parts.

2: Define some standard schema for drawing schematic symbols, e.g. SVG for line art and other symbol graphics.  Pin names and lengths and types and designators / numbers similar to combining SVG, SPICE library / subcircuit information together. 

3: Define some standard schema for representing PCB footprint data.  This shouldn't be hard based on the capabilities of using things like GERBER format, SVG, maybe whatever is also offered by ODB++, standard pick and place ASCII file formats, etc.  NC file like tool / drill / route codes, aperture macros for flashing pads and such, etc.

4: Draw some nice generic schematic symbols for all the generic standard symbols and put that "clip art" into open source clipart like terms. 

5: Use the above schematic symbol data / metadata combined with openly available data they must already have some or much of for the parts they stock to define actual concrete library components of symbol + part metadata + footprint (basically auto-generated from an IPC footprint tool) but not only will they have created *A* library for KICAD but they will also have created an "open source" library DEFINITION metadata scheme so the library itself could be imported not just by the CURRENT versions of KICAD but easily possible also to future CAD tool versions and be basically vendor neutral able to be imported easily into ANY CAD tool that cares to import a single standard simple XML or SQL or whatever format.

6: Develop / open source some of the various parsers, generator tools, database import / export tools (XML <-> SQL or whatever).  Cross schema rendering tools e.g. symbol schema render to HTML5 via SVG or transform SVG to GERBER or whatever.  Use these simple middleware tools as "foundation" components to enable not just the creation of this library but of derivative and synergistic tools, utilities, etc. for more and more of the overall EDA workflow.  Search for packages, parts, metadata, footprint variants, etc. using B2B / API based query and transfer similar to how they're already starting to do with their catalog but make the integrability with EDA tools that much broader and more comprehensive.

So basically for only incrementally somewhat more work than generating *A* public library they could lay the foundations to an open architecture vendor neutral "library framework / system" so maybe we can FINALLY get IC / part vendors and EDA tool makers and component distributors et. al. "speaking the same languages" so you can benefit from inter-compatible data interchange and make the EDA process vastly better and more usable overall.

Then extend that into schema for "open schema electronic datasheet" so you can start to get semantic parameters like hFE, V_OH, V_IL, Vcc range, etc. etc. same "labels" and "columns" and "graphs" and "tables" you see in basically every data sheet able to be represented in a semantically useful machine readable format that actually dovetails with library / catalog / BOM / SI analysis / SPICE analysis / technical documentation & reporting  etc. type tools so we can be free of useless PDF formats and be able to "render" a data sheet TO PDF, HTML, postscript, etc. but also directly extract symbolic parameter data for SPICE modeling and CAD library metadata and parts catalog searchability and whatever from the SAME schema format.

 
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Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2018, 10:11:59 am »
Creating a standardised, vendor neutral dataset is a rather huge task, I can't see what the commercial incentive would be. I'm also wary of the "creating yet another standard" problem. Arguably, creating KiCad libraries is already a vendor neutral, open source data format.

I have contributed data to the official KiCad libraries, mostly created with scripted generator tools (Python). I wrote a tool called symgen which generates symbols based on a simple text based part description, there are other tools which take a CSV or text file and convert to a symbol, and tools which take a JSON data file and create footprints. There are also parametric generators for 3d models using FreeCad.

The biggest problem with all these tools is just getting the data into any readable form, when the vast majority of data is only published in PDFs. I have tried scraping PDFs but it does not really work. For the more complex devices such as MCU, FPGA, some manufacturers publish text/CSV files which can be parsed easily, or there are tools designed for software configuration which can also provide a text file for symbol creation.

It doesn't matter so much that the data is not a standard form, scripts can do conversion quite easily. So what would be really useful as a first step is to get key parameters from the datasheet to be in a data file, perhaps XML. It seems like the source of that data should be manufacturers.
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Offline rrinker

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2018, 08:07:19 pm »
 I will say, if Digi-Key had libraries that included every part in my project, I would just buy all my parts from them. Or whichever vendor offered such a thing. Now, this is for personal projects so while cost is a concern, the convenience and time saved would offset the savings I'd get from buying 20 chips from Mouser for 10 cents less than Digi-Key's price. EVENTUALLY I could get there myself, by editing other libraries and matching up the Digi-Key part number, but if all that work were already done for me, they'd definitely get my business.
 Now if a few million users ALSO hop on that train, it might be worthwhile for them to do it.  ;D
 

Offline homebrew

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2018, 08:20:54 pm »
I will say, if Digi-Key had libraries that included every part in my project, I would just buy all my parts from them.

ah ... no!

Ok - maybe the schematic symbol would be handy sometimes. But still then, I like to arrange the pins in a way that seem functional to me. How would you know how I would use my microcontroller? Maybe I want to space the XTAL_IN and XTAL_OUT pins so that the crystal symbol exactly fits between these pins and so on ... I really enjoy drawing schematics and doing PCB ARTWORK. Hence the name :-)

With footprints it is a completely other story. Hand soldering or reflow? How thick is your stencil? 150um 100um? What is the minimum restring your board-house offers? Etc. etc.

There are soooo many parameters to get right. And it is so easy to screw a design with a single faulty (i.e. inappropriate) footprint.

So no - I'll do everything by myself. To reduce errors I often just copy-past the pinout and pad name information from the data sheets and the use scripts to transform the .csv into a symbol. Has worked perfectly for Eagle as well as KiCad.

If you've done that even once, you'll see that it is worth the effort ...
 
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Offline rrinker

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2018, 06:10:24 pm »
 Clearly I am too much of a noob at board design, but what would change with a component footprint? The data sheet offers me 4 or 5 options, that's all I can get. I understand the BOARD parameters change, quite a bit depending on what you are doing, but I can only get components in specific packages, with specific footprints, that the manufacturer offers. Either I'm missing a really basic bit of information here, or something.
 I've made a few custom parts in KiCad, where I want to integrate a module onto my board. Did that the old fashioned way, measured the board and all the pin spacings and drew it by hand in the footprint editor.



 

Offline aandrew

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2018, 05:34:30 pm »
Ok - maybe the schematic symbol would be handy sometimes. But still then, I like to arrange the pins in a way that seem functional to me. How would you know how I would use my microcontroller? Maybe I want to space the XTAL_IN and XTAL_OUT pins so that the crystal symbol exactly fits between these pins and so on ... I really enjoy drawing schematics and doing PCB ARTWORK. Hence the name :-)

That is, of course, your prerogative. I do try to make my schematic symbols reasonable, but I'd be hard-pressed to recall a time where I'd spend the effort to take a functional but not "optimal" symbol and redo it. This is mostly "it works and doesn't completely break my workflow" but also because an IC used in one application may be preferably drawn one way but drawn another way for another application. Where does it end?

Quote
With footprints it is a completely other story. Hand soldering or reflow? How thick is your stencil? 150um 100um? What is the minimum restring your board-house offers? Etc. etc.

What? You make your paste screen for some default, and when you send the gerbers off you tell them that these were the assumptions. The people making the boards already adjust things you'd never think of in order to make the boards easier to manufacture, and the stencil people can do the exact same thing if they know what your assumptions were. There's absolutely no need to have different footprints for different stencil thicknesses!

There have been *very* few boards I've made out of the hundreds I've created where I had to give the PCB or assembly house such explicit instructions that their tweaks would have affected my design in negative ways.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2018, 04:00:13 am »
Something that would be really nice is if 3D models were supplied for more parts. The 3D view is neat and would be handy for checking clearances but I've only rarely been motivated enough to create a 3D model of a new part I add to the library. It's just too much hassle vs the benefit.
 

Online langwadt

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2018, 11:58:43 pm »
Something that would be really nice is if 3D models were supplied for more parts. The 3D view is neat and would be handy for checking clearances but I've only rarely been motivated enough to create a 3D model of a new part I add to the library. It's just too much hassle vs the benefit.

you can get something by using a dummy 1x1x1 mm box as model and just scale to to the size of part
 

Offline homebrew

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2018, 08:19:04 am »
What? You make your paste screen for some default, and when you send the gerbers off you tell them that these were the assumptions. The people making the boards already adjust things you'd never think of in order to make the boards easier to manufacture, and the stencil people can do the exact same thing if they know what your assumptions were. There's absolutely no need to have different footprints for different stencil thicknesses!

No - certainly not. I don't have different footprints for different stencil thicknesses - simply because I just use one manufacturer. And it is solely about *my* process - when I have to assemble prototypes myself. Depending on the component, yes, the thickness matters. In worst case you have *twice* the past under a large thermal pad for example, which can be bad ... However, when knowing the thickness, you can still segment the cutout and control the amount of paste. Sometimes this is mentioned in the data sheets, sometimes not ...



 

Offline Kalvin

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2018, 01:59:57 pm »
From http://www.eenewsembedded.com/news/digi-key-launches-common-parts-library-kicad-eda-tool :

Quote
Digi-Key Electronics has announced that it is in beta release of a library containing almost 1,000 common parts for the open-source KiCad schematic capture and PCB tool.

The library will be hosted on the Digi-Key website. It was built after Digi-Key analyzed the top 1,000 parts that KiCad users would require. The library combines schematic symbols and PCB footprints into atomic elements and adds fields including part numbers and datasheet links. As the library has the same license as KiCad’s main library, it is freely available to all developers. The final release of the library is planned for early 2018.

Here's a link to Digikey site:
https://www.digikey.com/en/resources/design-tools/kicad

Here's a link to Github:
https://github.com/digikey/digikey-kicad-library
 

Offline salfter

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2018, 11:36:24 pm »
Something that would be really nice is if 3D models were supplied for more parts. The 3D view is neat and would be handy for checking clearances but I've only rarely been motivated enough to create a 3D model of a new part I add to the library. It's just too much hassle vs the benefit.

DigiKey already has models available for many of the parts I've needed.  It takes a few minutes to download the .step file, run it through FreeCAD to convert it to .wrl, then attach it to the footprint and get the position and scale dialed in (scale is nearly always 0.3937, but position and rotation usually need to be set by trial and error).  Colors aren't always accurate, but it's good enough to see how everything will fit together.

If anybody at DigiKey is listening, I have a patch I can send that adds models to the parts I've used so far.
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: Digi-Key open sources alpha version of an “atomic” parts library
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2018, 05:36:02 am »
Something that would be really nice is if 3D models were supplied for more parts. The 3D view is neat and would be handy for checking clearances but I've only rarely been motivated enough to create a 3D model of a new part I add to the library. It's just too much hassle vs the benefit.

DigiKey already has models available for many of the parts I've needed.  It takes a few minutes to download the .step file, run it through FreeCAD to convert it to .wrl, then attach it to the footprint and get the position and scale dialed in (scale is nearly always 0.3937, but position and rotation usually need to be set by trial and error).  Colors aren't always accurate, but it's good enough to see how everything will fit together.

If anybody at DigiKey is listening, I have a patch I can send that adds models to the parts I've used so far.

Kicad now supports using STEP files directly.
 


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